Steve Elling looks back on Tiger Woods's four previous triumphs at Augusta National.
Tiger Woods' previous four Masters victories at Augusta National
1997 Tiger Woods won his first Masters title in record fashion, destroying the field by 12 shots and blazing a new path for minorities. He shot four-over 40 on his opening nine holes. By the weekend, it was more of a coronation than a competition. He finished a record 18 under at a club where the chairman Clifford Roberts once said, "As long as I'm alive, golfers will be white and caddies will be black." (Roberts died in 1977.)
2001 Already evasive to the point of annoyance by this point in his career, his Masters victory a dozen years ago completed a wraparound grand slam, making Woods the first player to hold all four professional majors at the same time. Purists insisted that a slam was a feat achievable only in a calendar year. After he won by two over David Duval and three over Phil Mickelson, it was put to Woods himself. "What do I want to call it? I'll let you guys [decide] - you guys are very creative." With a club in hand, so was Woods, who would win seven majors in 11 starts over this stretch.
2002 In becoming the third player to defend a Masters title, Woods was not pushed during the final round, as his final-round co-leader and playing partner, Retief Goosen, faded with a 74. It was the least dramatic of his four victories at Augusta, as Woods foreshadowed a career-long ability to cruise on Sundays as other crashed.
2005 Mostly remembered for the entertaining chip-in for birdie by Woods on the 16th hole on Sunday, few remember that he bogeyed the 17th and 18th to blow a two-stroke lead over gritty Chris DiMarco, whom he eventually dispatched in a play-off. Looking back, the shaky closing holes perhaps represented a change of forthcoming fate for Woods, who has not won at Augusta National since.
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